A Message from the President & CEO – December 2021
The holidays, while a time of joy for so many, are a time that accentuates loss for children in care. Even children in caring placements have a loss of tradition and family. This is even further magnified for children in Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs), psychiatric hospitals, and for Children Without Placement (CWOP).
When I was still a volunteer Advocate…
Several years ago when I was still a volunteer Advocate, one of the children in my case was placed in a psychiatric hospital just days before Christmas. Having lost his foster placement, with a new caseworker on the case, and no contact with his siblings, he was all alone…except for me, his CASA Advocate.
I went down to his psychiatric hospital in the Medical Center on Christmas day. After going through all the necessary security checks, I made my way back to the unit. There he was, sitting all alone watching television. As many children as possible had been discharged from the unit to be home with their families for the holiday, so only a few children remained.
We played board games and colored. I brought him some gifts. He asked me about my Christmas and how my family was. He gave me a picture he had colored as a gift. He told me how the night before, he had seen a bright red light out his window and heard some bells on the roof above him. He knew, he just knew, it was Santa Claus and Rudolph. He didn’t have any cookies to leave for Santa, he explained, so he left out an orange from his dinner the night before for Santa and the reindeer. He was thrilled to wake up to his orange being gone and a stuffed bear from Santa in its place.
Dreams of Santa Claus and Rudolph
Children in foster care, for the intense abuse and neglect they have suffered, are just kids. Kids with dreams of Santa and Rudolph. Dreams of lives where they are fed, cared for, and celebrated. This child is now in high school and is in an adoptive family where, this Christmas, he will be in a home with those who love him.
Whether you are a volunteer, a donor, or a board member, YOU are the reason that we at CASA can do the work we do. Each of you is the reason that children will have an Advocate to visit them this Christmas to make them feel seen and loved. Thank you for your continued partnership which enables us to make sure every single child in Montgomery County has a volunteer Advocate this holiday season.
Ann Marie Ronsman, MSN, RN, TBRI Practitioner
President & CEO